Soccer

NWSL Power Rankings: Portland Thorns get back on track; No. 1 Orlando Pride remain unbeaten

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The 2021 National women’s Soccer League regular season continues as teams begin to navigate the early stages of the season. The regular season now takes a brief pause for the international window ahead of Week 5 action, with a return to play on June 19 with the North Carolina Courage hosting OL Reign on CBS (and Paramount+). 

Let’s take a look at where some teams have landed in our rankings after Week 4.

1.

Orlando Pride

The Pride are unbeaten in their last five games and coming off a 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit. Alex Morgan’s four-game streak of at least a goal or an assist ended, but a quick equalizer to level things from 2020 draft pick Taylor Kornieck and a solid defensive shift from the backline kept them in first once again.

2.

Portland Thorns FC

+2

The Thorns are coming off two wins after back-to-back losses. Their most recent win against Racing Louisville FC showcased why their midfield is elite as Angela Salem, Rocky Rodriguez and Lindsey Horan all ended up on the scoresheet.

3.

Washington Spirit

They’re unbeaten in their last three matches and coming off a 1-1 draw against first place Orlando. They’re slowly getting their attack in order as Ashley Hatch continues to score goals for the Spirit. 

4.

Chicago Red Stars

+4

Inconsistent in the early stages but coming off a huge win against the Courage. Chicago limited North Carolina to one shot on goal, won the duels battle (58.9 to 39.2 percent) and dominated the midfield all without Julie Ertz who is sidelined with an injury.

5.

Gotham FC

Offense has been limited but a breakthrough goal from Ifeoma Onumonu against OL Reign was the difference in the most recent win as the defense continues to step up no matter who has rotated into the backline.

6.

Houston Dash

+1

After going winless in their first three matches, Houston are now winners of their last two games. The team added new offensive pieces in Jasmyne Spencer and Maria Sanchez, but struggled a bit without their Canadian internationals in their most recent win, a narrow 1-0 victory against last place Kansas City. 

7.

North Carolina Courage

-5

Another team with an inconsistent start to their season, the Courage are coming off a 1-0 loss against a Chicago Red Stars side that stifled their signature box midfield. As Courage coach Paul Riley said in postgame comments: Back to the drawing board. 

8.

OL Reign

-1

OL Reign have lost their last two matches by narrow 1-0 margins. The team is also in the process of adding more pieces to their roster, first welcoming Rose Lavelle, and now Alana Cook. If they can finish their opportunities in the final third, they could quickly climb our rankings and the standings.

9.

Racing Louisville FC

Two straight losses for Racing Louisville FC where they were out scored 8-0, including a 5-0 beatdown from North Carolina Courage. The team is struggling and the recent break is coming just in time for the club to evaluate before their next match against Houston Dash.

10.

Kansas City NWSL

The only club without a win in 2021. After two draws to open regular season play, Kansas City has lost its last three fixtures. Being bit by the injury bug has not helped things, and the international break could help the club hit the reset button on the season.



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